Chairman, Genesis Worldwide Shipping, Captain, Emmanuel Iheanacho

A foremost Master Mariner and chairman of Genesis Worldwide Shipping, one of Nigeria’s thriving shipping lines, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho has said that the primary cause of the gridlocks that characterise most port access roads in Apapa remains the activities of articulated truck drivers.

This is contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the traffic jams in the area were caused by the tanker drivers, who go to the tank farms located in the area to lift refined imported petroleum products.

According to him, apart from the narrow nature and dilapidated state of the roads with attendant potholes, the primary cause of the gridlock was the uncoordinated activities of truck drivers, who throng to the port areas to scout for laden containers to seize.

Captain Iheanacho, who is a former Minister of Interior and chairman/CEO, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, insists that the continuous traffic gridlock experienced daily along the Apapa Port and Tin Can Island Ports access roads is not caused by the tank farm owners.

He attributed the menace of gridlock in the area to the increase in the volume of container traffic with the attendant increase in the number of trucks that come to the area.

He regretted that the government over the years has failed in matching the increase in the volume of business with the needed expansion of the road infrastructure.

“Whenever I hear that the incessant gridlock is caused by tanks farm  or petroleum tankers it baffles me, because to be sincere with you how many petroleum tankers can you see on this road, you see that you have more containers trucks than petroleum tankers.

“I decided to count the number of container trucks we have as against petroleum carrying tankers on a particular day and I discovered that the ratio is about 80 to 20 per cent which shows that we have more container trucks plying the road than petroleum tankers.

“Just like you have seen for yourself, how many petroleum tankers can you count presently? Probably one among 20,” he said.

He also blamed the lack of investment in road infrastructure as one of the major factors responsible for the perennial gridlock in Apapa.

He further explained that deficit in terms of the roads available and the traffic that goes into and out of the ports are part of reasons why the gridlock has become a thorn in the flesh of business men and residents of the vicinity.

As part of measures to ease the congestion, Captain Iheanacho made a strong case for the expansion of the roads by pulling down some old buildings in order to expand the roads to cope with the increased volume of business activities.

“It will not be a bad idea if the federal government can look at the possibility of acquiring some of these old buildings, knock them down and develop additional infrastructure by way of truck parks and access roads and the problem would be solved,” he added.

Available records show that since the roads were constructed more than 40 years ago, they have not been subjected to renewals or refurbishment to elongate their lifespan.

It was also gathered that these roads have also been faced with the challenge of being over-used, since they were constructed when the nation’s annual cargo throughput was less than 20 million metric tonnes per annum, which has increased to more than 80 million metric tonnes, which has put immence pressure on the roads, especially given that other modes of transportation are not available.